All About Camp
Here at the U-M Pediatric Diabetes Clinic, we always say that diabetes shouldn't get in the way of a child or teen's life. One of the most exciting opportunities we are proud to share with our patient families is the chance to go to summer camp with a fully trained and supportive staff of diabetes caretakers. We recommend this opportunity for all our patients because the peer support and life skills they will find are priceless.
There are three local diabetes camp options:
ADA Camp Midicha is hosted at YMCA Camp Copeniconic in Fenton, Michigan. Camp Midicha offers residential (overnight) camp for children entering 3rd grade through 17 years old and day camp for children 5 years old to entering 5th grade.
DYS Hot Shots Camp offers resident (overnight) camp for 13-17 year olds ("Big Shots") and 10-13 year olds ("Middle Shots") at Recreation Unlimited in Ashley, Ohio. DYS also hosts "Little Shots" day camp for 5-10 years olds at two separate locations: Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio and ProMedica Farms in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Camp Ho Mita Koda (CHMK) - North is an overnight camp held at D-Bar-A Ranch in Metamora, Michigan and serves campers in grades K-11. CHMK also offers camps in Ohio.
We know that cost can be a factor when determining your ability to participate Our goal is for every child and teen to have the opportunity to attend this amazing experience if they want to do so. Please see the list below for the options that we are aware of at this time.
Apply for financial aid through the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for Camp Midicha. Financial assistance is available for campers, just be sure to note that you are seeking financial aid on your camp paperwork. It will be in your supplemental forms during the registration process. For questions regarding ADA financial assistance contact Becky Barnett at RBarnett@diabetes.org.
Diabetes SoluT1ons offers a grant up to $375 to assist first-time campers (overnight camp only) in attending Camp Midicha. Application form here.
DYS Hot Shots Camps have been nationally recognized for outstanding performance in low-income camper recruitment! In partnership with local organizations like the Ronald McDonald House of NW Ohio, DYS provides free transportation, supply vouchers, and other support to get kids to camp! Full and partial scholarships are also available. Learn more here.
The Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation believes that every child who desires a place at camp should be able to attend – regardless of a family’s financial situation and are committed to making this happen with the help of generous donors. Learn more here.
The Family Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs invites families to apply to receive a Camp Scholarship for up to $250. Applicants do not have to be enrolled in Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) to be eligible. Families will be required to submit a completed Camp Scholarship Application along with an Attendance Registration Form, which will need to be filled out by the Camp Director. Deadline has been extended to June 30, 2023! Application form here.
Connect with local organizations in your area. Groups like Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge, Lions Club and Kiwanis Club often offer scholarships for camps, among other resources.
Your private or commercial insurance may offer funding support too - it doesn't hurt to ask! Just call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to inquire.
What to Expect at Camp
Camp is a great opportunity to meet other kids with T1D and bond while enjoying activities like swimming, climbing, arts and crafts, diabetes-related education, and more!
Each camp is host to a variety of available activities. For example, past Camp Midicha campers have gone swimming and tubing in the lake, canoeing, fishing, and bouncing on the famous "blob" as well as participating in arts and crafts and engaging in games like ultimate frisbee and zip lining. Hot Shots Camp also offers swimming, canoeing, and arts and crafts along with archery, an alpine climbing tower, and a slip 'n slide! CHMK-North offers similar water activities and crafts, along with horseback riding, human foosball, and astronomy. Camp activities are subject to change in response to weather, but are guaranteed to provide a fun and inclusive environment. Check out each camp's website for more details on what activities are offered.
All of the camps also integrate T1D education to help campers learn new skills and gain independence. Our patients who attend camps are blown away by the bonding and activities, and many claim that bonding with other diabetes patients is the best thing about having diabetes! Read some of our patients' testimonials below to learn why camp is such a rewarding experience for our T1D patients.
Dining and Safety
All camps provide menus that are T1D-friendly and can cater to necessary dietary restrictions and allergies. Camp staff include doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, CDCESs (certified diabetes care and education specialists), young adult counselors, registered dietitians, and mental health support staff. Many camp staff members manage diabetes or treat patients with T1D every day, and camp counselors often live with T1D themselves! All camps have procedures for blood sugar checks through the day and night, for insulin pumps while swimming, carb counting at meal times, infusion site changes, and management of both high and low blood sugars. Check out each camp for specific details about their programs.